Why do you need an app

In a world where even your local pizza shop or bakery has an app and almost 90% of downloaded apps are only used once, more and more we’re beginning to question the need for everybody to have an app. People are starting to experience so called “app fatigue.” And when you think about it, very often their right. Once you take into account the time it takes for your users to download an app, then find it in their app drawers, often a mobile website is easier, especially if you have a lower traffic website or blog that you don’t update several times a day. 

So why do you need an app? More specifically, why should you use IdeaPress? The answer to that question differs depending on your situation so I’d like down the pros and cons of IdeaPress apps and when you should get one. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea of what an IdeaPress app can do. 🙂

Who is IdeaPress for?

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More importantly, who is an app for? When your talking about making an app companion for your website your talking about taking the data from your website and making it mobile friendly. The main advantages that any app brings over a mobile website is the following:

  • Offline viewing: This is probably the most important and biggest advantage that an app brings over a mobile optimized website. The ability to cache data so that it can be viewed even without an internet connection. When you think about when someone will use your app, you realize that it will almost always be in a mobile scenario. Why would I read the news on my phone when I’m sitting at my desk at work? No, most people will use your app while their on the bus or subway. This is where offline viewing comes into play. Not everyone has unlimited data and if your on a subway, good luck getting a signal. So the value added of an app is that it will work anywhere as long as you’ve opened it at least once WITH Wifi.
  • Homescreen presence: When an app is on a phone or tablets homescreen, you’re one touch away from another viewer seeing your content. Now of course there is always the option to pin a web app to the startscreen, but the harsh truth of that is that half the time it doesn’t work and most people don’t even know that that’s a feature of their phones! As much as I’d like to see a rise in pinned web apps, they simply aren’t taking off, which leaves the home screen the domain of native apps.

So when would someone want an app with homescreen presence and that will store content and work everywhere?

  1. If your website has a lot of content. You might have a pretty big cached file, but if your website has a large amount of data, letting users access that data without an internet connection can be extremely beneficial! A great example of this is a website that conducts a lot of product reviews. With an IdeaPress app, a user can access your library of reviews and find the one for the product their looking at in Best Buy without needing an internet connection.
  2. If your website has a lot of updates. Your posts may be short, but you sure write a lot of them! Commuters who use apps are most likely checking the news and the news is something that is constantly changing. With an IdeaPress app, users can load up the mornings post before they leave for work and read them while they’re commuting. That’s something you just can’t do with a web app that needs an internet connection to open up and it’s a key advantage that IdeaPress gives you.

Who doesn’t need an app?

I doubt that I’ll solve the argument here, but I have firm belief that you need an app when it will add VALUE to its users. It should let them do something that they could not do before (this something should also be something that they want) and very often this boils down to how big and how often your website is visited by your average user and between the two I’d put an emphasis on the “how often.” If you are a casual blogger who writes one  post a month as a hobby, then it’s likely that creating an app for your website won’t add value to your readers. Making an app for your website is an excellent way for you to grow your viewership, but people will only keep your app if it’s being updated regularly. If you make one post a month, then your users have plenty of time to get to a desktop or laptop to read it on a bigger screen. This is why an app isn’t for everyone; if you only post every now and then, then an app won’t add any value to your readers. 

Why IdeaPress over a custom app?

I spent a long time trying to explain this with words before I decided to try something a bit more practical. 

Comparison of the MWNW and CNN apps shows identical design and features

Here we have a little mock-up that I put together. On the left we have an IdeaPress app for the Make Web Not War website and on the right we have the official android app for CNN, I used my own phone to take these pictures and I use the CNN app almost everyday. I have not used anything other than the IdeaPress wizard nor did I have one of our developers touch it up. 

Both apps have essentially the same features:

  • they pull articles from a website and convert them into a mobile format
  • They play videos natively
  • Articles can be shared through email or social media
  • articles can be cached for offline viewing once they’ve been loaded into the app
  • Users can comment on articles in the app and have them appear on the website (and vice verca).

So what’s the difference between the two? CNN likely spent thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars developing their app. They probably had to hire developers to make it or they contracted it out to a separate firm. The IdeaPress app meanwhile I made in 5-10 minutes using the online wizard and the cost? $69 for all three platforms (iOS, Android and Windows Phone).

In short, unless you’re looking for advanced and unique features, IdeaPress lets you access to app market for a fraction of the cost of developing one on your own.

But that’s not the only advantage that IdeaPress gives you over most other apps. The new IdeaPress mobile comes with Dynamic updating.

With an IdeaPress app, you can change the styling of the app after it has been published in the store without having to republish. This means that you can change the colours, fonts, categories and even the layout daily if you’d like. The main advantage being that you can keep your app “fresh” for your users to help alleviate “app fatigue.”

Conclusion why do you need an app?

Yes, not everyone needs an app and the majority of apps in the various app stores go unused, but that does not mean that the day of the app is over. There is simply a lot more competition then there used to be in the app space, which makes me want to restate what I said earlier: You should only get an app if it will add value to your users, not just to show off.

IdeaPress lets you do that with one key advantage: the cost. Here is an excellent article outlining the true costs of developing an app from scratch. In short, it’s roughly 120-150k. That’s prohibitively expensive for most people especially if they run their website on the side as a hobby. This is why we created IdeaPress. Everyone deserves a chance to access the rapidly growing app market and they shouldn’t have to shell out tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars to do it. 

So go ahead and give IdeaPress a try and get yourself out into the mobile world!


Mathieu Dubuc

Posted in IdeaPress

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